While the Trans-Pacific Partnership has seen vocal opposition both in Congress and on the campaign trail recently in the U.S., Japan’s legislature should have no problem passing the landmark trade deal, the country’s new consul general for the Southeast told Global Atlanta.
“If Japan is not in the TPP it doesn’t work; if the United States is not in the TPP it doesn’t work, so we should both be there,” Takashi Shinozuka told Global Atlanta in an interview.
For the deal to enter into force, six countries totaling at least 85 percent of the economic output of the original 12 parties have to ratify it within two years. Without either the worlds’s No. 1 or No. 3 economies, though, the numbers don’t add up.
In Japan, the opposition — mainly from the farm and auto lobbies — came out more during the negotiations, Mr. Shinozuka said. Now, the consensus is that the deal among Pacific Rim nations complements its ongoing economic reform efforts.
“If we have a free trade zone going from the east coast of the United States to Australia or New Zealand, it will be a benefit for the United States, for Japan and for other economies,” he said.
That’s not true here in the U.S., where trade is an easy target for populist politicians like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders on both sides of the aisle, and where even Hillary Clinton, who backed the deal as secretary of state, says she’s re-evaluating her support.
The TPP was reached in October in Atlanta, as what seemed like hundreds of Japanese reporters lay in wait for officials at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, hoping to break the latest about the slow-moving negotiations, which dragged on for six days as regulators ironed out compromises on drugs, dairy and auto parts. After six days of talks, they announced a breakthrough. A signing ceremony of the agreement was held Feb. 4 in New Zealand.
Mr. Shinozuka, who arrived in Atlanta in January, said it’s a great time to be building ties between Japan and the U.S., especially the South, which is home to hundreds of Japanese subsidiary companies.
More on TPP here.
Read Global Atlanta’s full story about the new consul general here.